Breaking News:Dangerous Delays: What Washington State (Re)Teaches Us About Cash and Cannabis Store Robberies [REPORT]


"Walmart of Weed" Set to Open in California

A cavernous 10,000-square-foot medical marijuana emporium is set to open in California, and in coming months the company behind it plans to open similar stores in Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, and Oregon. The new weGrow store - which wags have dubbed the "Wal-Mart of Weed" - isn't selling medical marijuana. It's offering up how-to experts and merchandise to help medical marijuana patients grow pot hydroponically. (Link to Story)

An American Dies in Mexico's Drug Prohibition War: Rounding Up the Killers of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officer Jaime Zapata Will Not Curtail Americans' Voracious Appetite for Mind-Altering Substances (Opinion)

The Wall Street Journal's Mary Anastasia O'Grady opines that it is not unreasonable to suggest that if the U.S. was facing rates of bloodshed similar to Mexico, Washington would be forced to reconsider the wisdom of its prohibitionist approach to drug policy. But the suffering is south of the border, out of sight and out of mind for Americans and, therefore, our politicians. Meanwhile, a multi-billion dollar U.S. bureaucracy dedicated to fighting this war has little incentive to see it won or change course. (Link to Story)

Puerto Rico Lawmaker Resigns Over Failed Drug Test

Rep. Rolando Crespo, a member of the Puerto Rican House of Representatives, resigned his seat two days after officials disclosed that a drug test showed he had used cocaine. Crespo was first elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2008. He was president of the powerful Rules and Calendar Committee. (Link to Story)

Pennsylvania Lawsuit Takes Aim at Use of Stickers in Drug Arrests

After a small marijuana raid at a home three years ago, police left behind a bright yellow sticker, plastered to a window for any passer-by to see that read "SAY NO TO DRUGS: BUSTED — Middletown Police Department." The charges against one of the residents, Deana Perry, were later dropped. Perry has gone to federal court, claiming the act of applying the sticker violated her constitutional rights. One of her lawyers, Dennis E. Boyle, said that Perry wants the police to be barred from labeling people as drug dealers before they have had their day in court. (Link to Story)

Florida Taxpayers Spent Hundreds of Millions Jailing Nonviolent Drug Abusers, Treatment a Less Expensive and More Effective Method

Officials across Florida are realizing that in situations where drug offenders are non-violent it would be a better use of limited resources to send them to treatment instead of prison. But, there aren't enough treatment programs and Florida currently houses 19,414 inmates for non-violent drug offenses costing taxpayers $377,971,166 a year. Mary Lynn Ulray, the executive director of a Drug Treatment Program DACCO, says she thinks the legislature is starting to understand there is a cost benefit from drug treatment. Ulray says the agency's 6 month residential program has close to a 70 percent success rate in six months at a cost of $10,000 compare that to the average 6.4 year sentence costing taxpayer $124,601 per offender. (Link to Story)

Bill to Lessen Penalties for Some Drug Offenders Clears Kentucky Senate Panel

A Kentucky Senate committee has approved legislation aimed at reducing the state’s fast-rising prison population by bolstering drug treatment and alternative sentences for non-violent offenders. The bill cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee without opposition. Supporters say the bill would produce net savings of $147 million over 10 years. (Link to Story)

Washington Lawmakers Consider Limit on THC Blood Levels

Not to be outdone by legislators in Colorado, Washington state officials are considering setting a legal limit for the amount of THC in a driver's blood. Nevada and Ohio have two-nanogram limits for THC. Pennsylvania has a five-nanogram "guideline," but not a limit. Twelve states have a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of any illicit drug, including marijuana. A group of 11 international scientists published a comprehensive study on the effects of THC on driving ability. They concluded that drivers do not pose a crash risk until they reach between 10-20 nanograms of THC per milliliter. They also determined that 18-20 nanograms is the equivalent of a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08, the current legal limit in most U.S. states. (Link to Story)

Philippine Congressman Jailed for Drug Trafficking in Hong Kong

A Hong Kong court sentenced Philippinian Rep. Ronald Singson to a year and a half in jail for trafficking cocaine. Singson got a lighter sentence from Wanchai District Court Judge Joseph Yau after he pleaded guilty to the charge of drug trafficking while insisting that he did not intend to sell the drugs he brought with him to Hong Kong. In Manila, Rep. Erico Aumentado, chairperson of the House Ethics and Privileges Committee, said there will be "no immediate sanction" imposed on Singson despite his sentence. (Link to Story)

Philadelphia Police Kill Dog in Drug Raid on Wrong House

In yet another example of drug prohibition enforcement bumbling a Philadelphia Police officer shot and killed a dog at a West Philadelphia residence he mistook for the target of a drug raid. No word yet on how much drugs, if any, were seized in the raid. (Link to Story)
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Indiana's Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels Talks About His Marijuana Use and Conviction

In typical political fashion, Gov. Mitch Daniels admits to using marijuana while at Princeton, makes no mention of any downside except his conviction, and says he learned his "lesson." (Link to Story)

Medical Marijuana Using High School Student Back in Class After Apology from School District's Lawyer

A high school student kept off campus for using medical marijuana has received an apology from the district's lawyer and is back in school. The student has a rare disease called Myoclonus Diaphragmatic Flutter, and it causes him to have seizure such as spasms in his diaphram. At the beginning of every attack, he takes a 10 mg medical marijuana throat lozenge. The student's family wants to take legal action and are in talks with an attorney from Denver to make it legal for nurses to administer medical marijuana on campus. (Link to Story)

Hawaii Marijuana Decriminalization Bill SB 1460 at the Crossroads

Matt Rifkin, on behalf of Jeanne Ohta, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, asks the public to submit testimony supporting the decriminalizing the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana by making the offense a civil fine instead of a petty misdemeanor. (Link to Story)

Columbus Officer Shot by Second Officer During Marijuana Raid

While conducting a marijuana raid a Columbus officer accidentally shot another officer when his gun discharged while exiting a police vehicle. (Link to Story)

WikiLeaks: Mexican President's Guard Leaked Secrets to Drug Trafficking Organizations

In yet another blow to Mexico's failed drug prohibition war, a Mexican army officer assigned to guard President Felipe Calderon leaked military intelligence to drug trafficking organizations, trained hit men and supplied military weapons to Los Zetas, according to a U.S. Embassy cable recently released by Wikileaks. The cable says the case was the most serious security breach to date during the Calderon presidency and indicates that Mexico's powerful drug traffickers have infiltrated large parts of the security apparatus. (Link to Story)

Medical Pot Taxes, Dispensary Licenses, Weed Farmer Leniency Bills Filed in Sacramento

It's bill-dropping season in the nation's capitals, and California lawmakers are pushing hard on the medical marijuana front. (Link to Story)

Indiana Senate Approves Call for Marijuana Policy Study

Indiana's Senate approved a study on the state’s policies regarding marijuana, including costs in the state’s criminal justice system and the potential for regulation and taxation options. Under Senate Bill 192, authored by State Senator Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, the legislative review would be conducted by the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee later this year. The committee would make findings and recommendations on the current criminal penalties related to marijuana and the cost to the state, as well as potential plans for medical marijuana, decriminalization for small amounts, and controlling marijuana like alcohol with regulated sales and taxation. (Link to Story)

Why This Cop Asked the President About Legalizing Drugs

You might not think a 65-year-old retired deputy sheriff would take to the Internet to ask the president of the United States to consider legalizing drugs, but that's just what MacKenzie Allen did recently. The answer he got from President Obama in YouTube's "Your Interview with the President" contest pleasantly surprised him. Obama responded by saying that legalizing drugs is "an entirely legitimate topic for debate." (Link to Story)

Obama to Meet Mexico's Calderon Amid Drug Prohibition Violence

The drug prohibition war in Mexico has failed despite Mexico deploying soldiers and federal police in a widespread crackdown on drug trafficking organizations that has left more than 34,600 people dead since December of 2006. Now, President Barack Obama plans to meet Mexico's President Felipe Calderon amid a spike in drug prohibition violence which led to the shooting of two US federal agents. (Link to Story)

Mexico Criticizes US Coordination in Drug Prohibition War

Frustration over the failed drug prohibition war in Mexico continues to mount. Mexican President Felipe Calderon has rejected accusations that a lack of coordination in Mexico is undermining the fight against drug trafficking organizations, saying rivalry within U.S. intelligence agencies is to blame. The Mexican leader said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Central Intelligence Agency and Immigration and Customs Enforcement do not coordinate with each other on security matters, and said the agencies were rivals. (Link to Story)

Demonstrations at Oregon's Capitol Regarding Medical Marijuana Bill

A large demonstration by medical marijuana supporters is taking place today over Oregon's House bill 2982, which would require a background check on existing medical marijuana cardholders and deny participation to anyone with a drug felony in his/her past. (Link to Story)

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